How to NOT Lose Weight on Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet

This post was written by Laura, the founder of Slow Carb Foodie.

The Slow Carb Diet is intended to be simple.  There’s really only 5 rules, so it’s pretty hard to mess up.   I managed to mess up without even realizing it, and it all came down to what I consider a rookie oversight.

So here’s the story.  Hopefully, it keeps others from making the same mistake.

I started Slow Carb last week.  The first few days I lost steadily, about 3 lbs in 4 days, despite eating out twice (yes, I stuck to the rules but was a bit nervous about hidden sugars in the sauces) and consuming about 6 glasses of red wine on my boyfriend’s birthday on a non-cheat day.

The rules were easy enough to follow, and I was happy with my progress so far, but I was concerned that I was eating too much sodium since my main source of legumes so far was canned, refried beans.  I decided I should switch to one of Tim’s preferred legume types, and since black beans in a can are impossible to find in Australia, I chose lentils – something I’ve never really cooked or had in any way, shape or form other than in Indian food.

I wanted a bit of inspiration so I got out 660 Curries, my favorite Indian cookbook, and found a recipe for garlicky lentils.   I knew I had about a pound of leftover bacon in the fridge that needed to be used pronto so I decided to take a bit of creative license and incorporate it into the curry.  Halfway through the cook time, the lentils were smelling and tasting great, but looked pretty dried out.  I decided to add some chicken stock and then reduce them a bit more.

That did the trick.  They were absolutely phenomenal.  Even my boyfriend who hates lentils and has no need or interest in following the diet loved them.

So did you catch it?  The mistake I made.

That was day 5, and I didn’t catch it until today on day 9.  I’ve been making some version of lentils with chicken stock every day and finally ran out of stock cubes.  I went to the store to replace them and happened to look at the ingredients because my boyfriend had recently mentioned that in Australia, they’ll sometime include cow parts from England and sometimes people get Mad Cow.

I have absolutely no idea if that’s true, but it’s the only reason I took the time to read the label. I’d purchased the brand before and remembered it to be all natural, gluten-free, preservative-free, lactose-free, etc.  Pretty much “everything” free.  Well, I was wrong.  It wasn’t SUGAR free.

Wow.  I was pissed off.  A week of being diligent about everything that went into my mouth (so I thought!) completely for nothing.  I’d been unknowingly sabotaging my eating plan for days now.

As someone who thought I had a good grip on the nutritional content in most foods, I’m pretty embarrassed by this slip up- though there were two positive take-aways or things learned from this experience.  1)  I now have a good idea why the Slow Carb wasn’t working for me the way it seemed to be working for others on the plan.  2) I now have increased motivation to double-check nutritional info to ensure success.

Due to my little slip-up, I’m “starting over” this week and calling today Day 2 of Slow Carb as last week’s results don’t accurately reflect the results of someone properly following the diet.  It’s Monday, and I know I consumed trace amounts of sugar both today and yesterday which will impact my results, but I’d rather not wait until next Sunday to start again.

I’m ready to start seeing the great results everyone else seems to be seeing.

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  1. Hi Laura! I’m really enjoying your blog, your recipes are great (spicy bacon lentils ftw!) and im so glad you’re in Australia and calling for ingredients I can actually get over here! 🙂

    I found a premade chicken stock that doesn’t contain sugar – its the Gravox brand. Contains water, salt, yeast extract, rehydrated onion, chicken flavour and thyme.

    Good luck and keep up the great blog! 🙂

    • Thanks for reading, and thanks for the tip, Angela. I was doing a bit of research, and it looks like “yeast extract”, one of the ingredients, is actually MSG. It might be fine in small doses but worth noting if you see weight loss stall.

  2. Hi Laura,

    Am just about to embark on the 4HB, and I came across your fantastic site in the nick of time! Great info here, and great recipes.

    Just wondering – did you end up finding a suitable stock? Am in Aus too so would be great to know.


    • Hi Jane,

      Thanks for reading. I have not found a suitable stock yet in AUS, but mostly because I stopped looking. There is definitely nothing at Coles or the common grocery store that is suitable. There probably is one if you go to a health store or organic food store. I’ve gotten really into making a batch of stock from scratch every fortnight and freezing about half of it. I think it tastes better and is worth the trouble. My local butcher in Melbourne will sell me about 2 kilos of chicken carcasses for $1. I take the time to roast them before adding them to the veggies in the stock pot, not necessary, but it gives the stock much more flavor. Sounds like a pain if you haven’t done it before, but it’s sort of become part of my weekly routine. Sometimes I’ll even use half the batch to make soup. Good luck on the plan and keep in touch with your progress or questions.

  3. I also tried to find chicken stock that wasn’t loaded with sugar with no luck…I eventually just started making beer can chicken…then taking the left over bones, and throwing them in a pot of water at low boil for a hour to make the stock. All I do afterwards is freeze it in one cup batches.

  4. slow carber says

    I make my own chicken stock and freeze it in ice cube trays for easy storage and measurement. Also, homemade stock tastes infinitely better than store bought.

  5. Kiera Gee says

    Hi Laura,

    I’m in Aus too and I use Vegeta – it definitely doesn’t have barely any sugar in it (only traces as is found in vegetables) so I think if you were desperate it might pass the test. Although homemade is of course much better 🙂

  6. Hi. I was wondering if refried beans are okay after all? I’ve been using them from time to time, and am wondering if I could be doing better if I didn’t eat them. Any feedback?

    • Hi Mary – Thanks for reading. As I remember, they’re not the ideal because there is a lot of sodium, but they’re OK on occasion or if you flat-out hate normal beans and need to ease into it. After a few months of Slow Carbing, I dropped beans altogether so in some ways it’s a matter of personal preference.

  7. I’m so glad to hear this!! My husband and I have been doing the 4 hour body for 3 weeks now and I’m frustrated. Week 1 I lost 5 lbs and my husband lost 10. Seemed almost too good to be true! Then last week I GAINED 2 pounds! I haven’t weighed myself for this week but I’m guessing I haven’t lost any or much. Even though I gained weight I did lose inches but I’d still like to see that scale go down! I have no idea what I’m doing wrong – or maybe I do?? For breakfast each morning my husband and I are doing bacon and eggs, focusing on starting with the protein. No veggies, lentils or beans. Is that causing the problem? Our other meals are very reasonable, though I’ve found the same problem with sugar in so many items! I think we’re mostly sugar free though, but now my question is the bacon… Should I switch this up?

    • Hi Stacey – I’d definitely recommend dropping the bacon except on cheat days or special occasions. Commercially produced bacon is often packed with sugar. i made this mistake early on as well. This is the article that highlighted for me this may be causing a stall in my weight loss. Check out it If you’re trying to get enough protein and can’t stomach more than an egg or two, it can be helpful to have chicken in the fridge you can throw into a scramble or omelette. Or you can make your own sausage patties. These are pretty easy to make in large batches and reheat throughout the week. There’s a few recipes on the recipes index.

      • Thank you so much Laura! I knew I should have looked at the label, I was just thinking it was meat, a bit more fatty that we probably ought to eat but it was how I convinced my husband the four hour body was a good idea. he could still eat bacon! 🙂 I’ll check out your recipes. Thanks for the advice!!

        • I’ve found bacon that didn’t have any sugar in it, but maybe I should read that article still. 🙂 I’ve definitely had weight loss success eating a couple slices of bacon a day, but I’ve got a lot to lose so that could be why. You might try some ham or Canadian bacon instead if it’s the flavor he’s looking for. Just another note: don’t be afraid of fat from animal products. The conventional wisdom correlating fat and weight gain is completely false. The biggest reason we should avoid real fatty foods is that the bad stuff (chemicals, hormones) likes to hide in there as well as omega-6 fats due to being grain fed. Fat from pastured (grass-fed), organic meats are perfectly fine.


  8. I think a big problem that people often have, including myself at times, is assuming that the doesn’t need fats or that fats hurt the diet. If your fat intake is too low or are the wrong type of fats, it can impede your success.

  9. Terry McBrydie says

    Hello. I have accidently come accross this site. My wife and I started a low carb diet and I went from 100kg to 75kg in 16 weeks. However, I am back up to 83kgs and have been around that weight for a few months now. Do you, or is there a site where I can get some good recipes for meals that will help me get back down again. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Terry.

  10. Stock cubes are enticing due to their simplicity. But why do that when you can by a whole chook, roast it, throw the left overs, carcass, *anything* from your finished dinner plate (including bones), spare gravy into a slow cooker (crock pot), top it up with water and leave it over night or through out the day?

    Ditch the solids, sieve the liquid into a bowl and reduce. You’ll end up with a pint easily (more if you don’t reduce so much – that’s a bit trial and error). Keep it simple – add a halved onion, 6 or so whole black pepper corns, a single carrot and that’s that. On top of all that, it’s free.

    There are a few things in the world that are so unbelievably simple that you pretty much never go back – stock is one of them (mayo takes a bit more practice but is equally “wtf?” once you make it fresh – 5 mins from start to finish. I admit I hardly ever do may, but…)

    I’m no kitchen whizz – In fact I’m dead lazy (see mayo comment!) but that’s why a slow cooker is your slow carb friend. In fact you can pretty much cook the chicken in it (drop it in before work, come home to a cooked meal), have broth, stir fry some cabbage or greens with butter in 5 minutes and have the perfect, almost zero effort slow carb dish, and then throw the remainders back in for stock without even washing up! You don’t get the delicious roast skin but it’s one less pan!

    Plus it’s awesome for pulses etc. In aus, Tefal do a 4 in 1 rice cooker than has a 9 hour timer on it – perfect.

    Sorry this sounds a bit evangelical!

  11. Soak kombu in water for a fab stock! Seaweed & great for you, plus easier & cheaper!

  12. Quick tip next time you roast a bird, keep the carcass. Simmer in water with bay leaves, carrots, onions and celery. Don’t allow the stock to come to a full boil (it will be cloudy if you do but still usable). If you want a richer stock use a raw chicken browning the wings and legs separately for flavor.

  13. Daniel Millar says

    Try cooking the lentils with water instead of a stock. If there are already strong flavours in the dish you might realise you don’t need it at all.

    I’ve cooked this amazing recipe below many many times and never used stock. There are so many powerful flavours the stock add very little.

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